|"Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
Sometimes your resistance has nothing to do with being lazy. The problem could be your church. Find the church that's right for you. Here's how to get started.
Who Needs Church Anyway?
By Jennifer E. Jones
I don’t know what time it is where you are, but as I’m writing this, it’s currently 11:50 a.m. on Sunday morning.
I’m sitting at my desk, sipping coffee, occasionally peering out of my bedroom window at a perfectly bright and blue Virginian sky. Still in my pajamas, I’m listening to the "Thank God It's Sunday" mix on my iPod (mostly Coldplay and The Beatles) and writing my next column. Nothing could make this moment more right.
Judging by my comfort level and contentment with the world around me, one can only assume one thing…
I’m skipping church.
Last week I had a good excuse because when service started at my local assembly, I was flying over southern farmlands on my way to Nashville on business. And I went to church the Sunday before that. At least I think I did.
I can be very bad about this, and it all started in my mid-20s. I just stopped seeing the point in going. I’d been a Christian for 20 years. If you break that down, that’s 17 years of Christian education, 1,040 church services, over 1,500 sermons… I needed a break.
I guess you can say what I was going through was “a quarter-life crisis” of sorts. Divine discontent. Faith-induced PMS. It kept me stacked with good excuses to miss the ennui of church and Bible study meetings. I told my friends that if I had to play Cranium while chugging coffee and brownies with the married moms of my cell group one more time, I was gonna start taking hostages.
I'm far from being alone in this. CBN News recently did a story on other refugees from traditional church. According to their report, 20 million Christians worship God apart from a standard local assembly.
I am one of them. Or at least I used to be. I used to believe that church was pointless. However, I’m starting to change my ways.
So who needs church anyway? When you really think about it, we all do, and here’s why.
- Church keeps you accountable. If church is done right, that means you’re being active and more people know your name than just that one usher who remembers everybody. Build relationships. Let people in. Church can provide another family to share your life with, and at the very least, you’ll be missed when you’re not there.
- Church keeps you sharp. Prov. 27:17 (NIV) says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” It’s in the Bible because it’s true. Your spiritual life cannot grow in a vacuum. The Scriptures are meant to be read, discussed, wrestled with, questioned, and made practical to our everyday lives. Unless one of your multiple personalities is a theologian, chances are you need your pastor and your co-church members to help you gain a better understanding of the Bible. You will challenge each other and help make the church, as a whole, a better place.
- Church is a great place to find a mate or keep the one you got. As Christians, we don’t have singles bars and clubs to scour for a date. Church is still your best shot because it’s safe to assume you’re dealing with someone who believes as you do (it’s still a good idea to ask though). If you’re married, churches provide a network of couples to support you. You can learn from the wisdom of older couples and laugh at the adjustment phase with newlyweds. No matter what martial box you check, church is there for you.
- Church keeps the kingdom growing. Christians are spread out and divided enough as it is. If we have a substantial amount of believers just floating around without direct connections to the Body of Christ, then that only makes us weaker.
- Church keeps you in the family. If you’ve ever watched National Geographic or the Discovery channel, you’ve seen lions hunting antelope. Very rarely do predators bust into a pack of prey. Instead, they wait until one animal wanders from the herd. That’s kind of how the spiritual realm works too. If you’re a believer detached from a core group of the same, you’re more likely to be pulled away by any rushing wind of crazy, trendy false doctrine (how do you think Scientology got started?). Church will help you be in the world, but not of it.
We all have stories about churches that have done us wrong. However, I like to tell non-believers and disillusioned saints alike that Christianity is not about people. It’s about Christ. That being said, church is the anchor that helps navigate this world.
And when I say church, I don’t mean meeting in Starbucks on Sunday afternoons. That’s fine for Bible study. But if you start speaking in tongues and laying hands on the sick, they’ll not only throw you out, they’ll call the cops.
Church is our sanctuary to be ourselves. We can run, jump, praise, dance, laugh, and build strategies for taking over the world. I like the sound of that. And if it comes with coffee and board games, then bring it on.
Got comments? Drop me a line.
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